Honest question: would you have had the ground skills to survive this attack? Kudos to Officer Hyman for being able to stay in the fight long enough for help to arrive! This is why we preach fighting skills at Active Self Protection so much.
Original video of the attack: https://get-asp.com/zmd2
News story of the attack with details on the officer and suspect: https://get-asp.com/kf72
What does this video teach us about defending ourselves against an attack?
- If your awareness is solid, you should get plenty of pre-attack cues from a robber or other attack. If you’re paying attention to your surroundings and the people in your vicinity it becomes a lot easier to see who is out of place! Watch for furtive glances which are an indicator that they are looking for potential witnesses to their actions or escape routes after the attack. Check hands as well to see if they have anything in them or are hiding unnaturally in pockets. If you see a pattern that makes you uncomfortable, move from condition yellow to condition orange and take action to investigate or move to safety.
- In any territorial or predatorial violence, the attacker gets to set the time and circumstances of the attack. They will almost always launch that attack from ambush, or as we like to call it in Umas, from “obscurity.” Surviving that ambush is one of the most important keys to successfully defending yourself. The officer here survived the initial ambush and stayed in the fight, and that was crucial to his success.
- To defend against this kind of attack, you need emotional fitness. Emotional fitness is defined as the ability to internally represent a situation or predicament to yourself in such a way as to make you strong and able to successfully defend yourself against it. Repeated practice and thousands of reps of sparring and self-defense absolutely build your emotional fitness to be able to handle whatever comes your way. The officer in this attack needed emotional fitness to stay calm and in the fight until help got there, not to gas himself out and wear down. It’s not easy, but when you’ve done it on the mat repeatedly it becomes second nature.
- As well-meaning as police officers are, they cannot protect you from danger. As the old adage says, “When seconds count, the police are only minutes away!” You—and ONLY you—can protect yourself from danger when it comes upon you. You need to have the attitude, skills, and plan to protect yourself from harm because the police simply can’t. It might seem odd for me to say that in an attack against an officer, but look at how long it took backup to get there for him. And he’s an officer!
- The root word of gunfight is “fight,” not “gun.” Whether you carry a firearm or not, recognize that you need to know how to fight and protect yourself against an attacker! Even if you do carry a firearm, you need empty-handed skills to be able to fight your way to your gun or defend yourself before you get the opportunity to draw. To think otherwise is madness. Officer Hyman needed every bit of skill he had with his hands to fight this attack off, and his gun wasn’t an option.
- Even in a gunfight, empty-handed skills are important because many gunfights close to “extreme close quarters” or “bad breath distances.” Knowing how to protect your firearm from being taken, and how to win the fight that you’re actually in rather than the fight you want to be in, is crucial. If you’ve never fought from the clinch with your gun in the fight, on the ground and on your feet, your training has a huge gap in it. This attack on an officer shows that clearly.
- As one of my martial arts mentors, Skip Hancock, is fond of saying, the ground must be your friend and not your enemy. You must know how to fight on the ground and not panic if the fight goes to the ground! You must have skills from bottom position, from top position, and in the scramble. You must be able to regain your feet and fight from wherever you find yourself. Too many fights require this skill to ignore it! The officer had just enough ground skills to survive until his partners got there.
- The Bystander Effect is real. The woman in the audio of this attack stood there and didn’t help, which to me is baffling but not uncommon. You cannot count on anyone breaking the Bystander Effect to help you, especially if the attacker is armed and any help would be at a force deficit from it. Usually the best way to break the Bystander Effect is to have a force multiplication advantage, which is a great reason to keep your force multiplier on you at all times and know how to use it to end the attack.
Attitude. Skills. Plan.
Copyright Disclaimer. Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for “fair use” for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of fair use.